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The wood beyond the world: Jämtland and the norwegian kings

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Chapter Summary

The twin phenomena of colonisation 'west over sea' by Norwegian farmers and the subsequent efforts by the Norwegian crown to exert authority over these colonies, culminating in the annexation of Iceland in 1262 and the surrender of claims to hegemony over the Western Isles to the Scottish crown in 1266, have provided the narratives within which we have sought to contextualise our understanding of the Scottish experience. Jämtland covers a vast area, approximately 37, 500 sq. km (Benedictow 2003, 240), but mostly comprises coniferous forest and heathland and at its height, shortly before the Black Death, the medieval population seems to have occupied only 1, 130 farms (Salvesen 1979, 158). The great lakes and rivers of Jämtland and the surrounding provinces provided the highways along which sleighs, in winter, or boats, in summer, could transport furs and hides southwards, and silver and exotic eastern goods northwards.

Keywords: Iceland; Jämtland; Norwegian crown



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